AFC Notes: Broncos, Raiders, Marcus Mariota


Broncos’ WR/KR Diontae Spencer gave credit to ST coordinator Tom McMahon for his success this season.

“I have a great special teams coordinator. Tom, he’s helped me out so much since I’ve been here. Just the nuances of becoming a punt returner. It’s one of those things where he stays on me. After practice, I’m on the Jugs and he’s always pushing me,’’ Spencer said, per Mike Klis.

Marcus Mariota

Raiders QB Marcus Mariota downplayed any quarterback-controversy in Las Vegas but said he’s grateful to be playing again after Derek Carr‘s recent injury. 

“This is Derek’s team,” Mariota said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “For me, I just try to come in and help these guys get a win. Derek is a great leader and somebody this team can look to. It was cool for me to get to experience playing again after not playing for a while and to have his support, have Coach Gruden make that transition a little easier for me meant a lot. I thought it was the reason we had some success.”

Raiders HC Jon Gruden praised their coaching staff for Mariota’s success in Thursday’s game and will continue calling plays that accentuate his running ability. 

“This is just a real credit to the coaches and really credit to Mariota,” Gruden said. “He’s a hell of a player. We called some plays we didn’t really practice, but practiced earlier in the season. If Derek can’t go, we’re always going to try and do what our quarterback does best and this guy can really run. He’s a dual threat, and he really proved that [Thursday].”

Raiders TE Darren Waller also believes that Mariota “played great” on Thursday and wasn’t surprised by the quarterback’s production. 

“It was tough to see Derek go out, No. 1, but yeah, I feel like Marcus played great,” said Waller. “The way Marcus comes to practice every day, has a good attitude and plays hard, I feel like it was no surprise to how he played tonight.”

  • Jerry McDonald notes that despite QB Derek Carr‘s speedy recovery from fractures in his back, he still expects that Carr will take time to nurse his injured groin.
  • McDonald adds that this will give the team a chance to see more out of QB Marcus Mariota, who the team has under contract next season as well.


Jerry McDonald of the Mercury News takes a look at a number of potential defensive coordinator candidates to watch for the Raiders this offseason including:

  1. Raiders’ interim DC Rod Marinelli
  2. Falcons’ interim HC Raheem Morris
  3. Chargers DC Gus Bradley
  4. Former Rams DC Wade Phillips
  5. Saints DBs coach Aaron Glenn
  6. Broncos HC Vic Fangio
  7. University of Tennessee DC Derrick Ansley
  8. Former Lions HC Matt Patricia
  9. Former Falcons HC Dan Quinn
  10. Former Bengals HC Marvin Lewis
  11. Texans’ interim HC Romeo Crennel
  12. Patriots LBs coach Jerod Mayo
  13. Former Bears HC Lovie Smith
  14. Former Jets DC Gregg Williams
  15. Clemson DC Brent Venables
  16. Broncos LBs coach John Pagano

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